Syria's cease-fire deal was born in Munich, in the early hours of Friday morning -- and pronounced dead in the same town within a day, a development that exposed just how little influence the U.S. now has over the conflict.
British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond probably had the smartest take on the deal, when he divided it into two parts during the annual Munich Security Conference, which began hours after the deal was signed. One part, to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged civilians, will probably happen to some extent and would surely be a worthwhile achievement. The other, a potential truce, is entirely dependent on what Russia wants, Hammond said.
That's a stunning admission in itself: Since when did Russia, rather than the U.S., play the deciding role in any part of the Middle East? Since now. The terms of the truce show the impotence of the U.S. in Syria.
In the short term, at least, there should be no mystery about what Russia wants, according to Fyodor Lukyanov, who heads Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy: Aleppo.